Heritage Action on Medicare Doc Fix
Heritage Action released the following statement from CEO Michael A. Needham:
“Some in Congress are pursuing a phony, short-term savings gimmick to offset the cost of the doc fix. Americans want Washington to reject political expediency and instead focus on real spending cuts and real reforms. Anything less will be met with vigorous opposition.”
A congressional conference committee is currently negotiating a massive package, which could potentially include a permanent solution for Medicare’s flawed system for physician reimbursement. Lawmakers are openly considering the use of Oversee Contingency Operations (OCO) funds to offset part of the $316 billion cost of a ten-year doc fix.
Simply put, the OCO funding is a budget gimmick – Congress cannot use non-existent post-war savings to justify increased levels of spending. Even if the savings were real (which they are not), it is disingenuous to offset a permanent increase in entitlement spending with a decrease in discretionary spending.
Instead, any short-term temporary doc fix should be offset with real dollar-for-dollar spending cuts. More importantly, though, the perennial battle over Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) only reinforces the need to reform the system as a whole, moving toward a premium support model.